Two More Days!
It is just about the end of February which signals the end of some of the goals that I set for myself for this month. Let me say this right off the bat: if you set goals in order to track results you may want to only introduce one new thing at a time instead of several. Here's why:
In February I abstained from alcohol, I ran at least a mile every day in addition to my regular strength training schedule and I introduced the maca root powder supplement into my diet. If I saw any results (e.g., weight loss, more energy, greater stamina/endurance) I can't really say what was the exact cause. Am I sleeping better because I'm not drinking? Was I able to run everyday because of the maca? Who knows?
For me, I have to say that I'm not really interested in immediate results. My days of expecting instant gratification are over. Especially, when it comes to health and fitness. I have learned and I have tried to instill in my clients that the important thing is to make lifestyle changes and to be consistent with those changes. Consistency is where you will see the results. A 28-day change is not likely to net long-lasting results.
So, let's talk about the changes that I made and how/if I plan to keep these things up in the future.
Alcohol consumption: Okay, if you have known me for any length of time you should know that I love wine. I am an avid wine drinker. The only time that I stopped drinking for a significant period of time was when I was competing. Well, I'm no longer a competitor ... so yeah. Anyway, I make time in my schedule to go to wine dinners and wine tastings so wine is a big part of my life. It just is. I decided to step away for the month of February because I felt I needed a break. I wanted to make sure that I actually could step away from it and that it wasn't something that I was dependent on. Honestly, not drinking was not a problem at all and I didn't even think about it until the final week of February. Friday is March 1st and I am already planning to go to dinner at a place that boasts an extensive wine selection. I find that as long as I don't have wine in the house then I think about it less but walking by bottles everyday is challenging. Moving forward, I plan to limit consumption to the weekends and drink less during the week. The reason is that it does interfere with my sleep and I'm finding that the more I drink, the more I'm able to drink. There was a time when I could never drink more than 2 glasses of wine at one sitting. Now, I'm able to drink 4 glasses (or 1 bottle). Not a good look, in my opinion.
Running everyday: I decided to challenge myself to run at least a mile everyday in February mainly because a lot of my peers were running everyday and started the day after Thanksgiving. I watched all of them just continuing to do it and I wondered if I could run everyday -- rain or shine, even in the unpredictable February weather. I needed that challenge. Historically, I would not ever do cardio on a leg day but I know that running one mile after training legs is not going to have an adverse effect. Also, I noticed that my usual running schedule was no longer challenging my body like it used to. In other words, I was no longer maintaining my weight -- I was gaining weight. It was time to step up my cardio and shake up my exercise routine (and put down the potato chips!). I have to admit that I love running and I really enjoyed running so much this month. Will I keep it up? Maybe not seven days a week. I am a believer that the body needs a real rest day and I haven't had one in 27 days now. So far, in February I have run a total of 83.61 miles. I hope to run 5 more before the month is out. Not bad.
Maca root powder: Adding maca root to my diet has been interesting and after only one month I cannot say definitively if there have been any changes. According to WebMd:
Maca is a plant that grows in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes Mountains. It has been cultivated as a vegetable crop in this area for at least 3000 years. Maca is a relative of the radish and has an odor similar to butterscotch. Its root is used to make medicine.
People take maca by mouth for "tired blood" (anemia); chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance, and memory. People also take maca by mouth for female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, symptoms of menopause, improving fertility, and sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants, weak bones (osteoporosis), depression, stomach cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction (ED), to arouse sexual desire, and to boost the immune system.
I primarily wanted to take maca to help with symptoms of menopause and hormonal imbalances.
I do believe my mood is better and I don't feel quite as tired (even though I'm up at 4:30 every morning and work two jobs). I don't think 28 days is long enough to really be able to make a judgement. I do plan to continue taking maca for at least two more months. It is recommended that I cycle off after a period of time, so I will probably do that.
That was my February. I haven't established a challenge for myself for March and probably won't. Right now I have 7 races on the calendar which will take me through July -- one of those races is virtual, but the rest are in person. The first one is the Shamrock 8k. I haven't run this race in several years -- this race was actually my first 8k back in 2012. Time flies.
Anyway, I'm rambling. March and Spring time are almost here, people!